Activity Nights @ Barbury Castle During August 2017

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screenshot-www.google.co.uk 2015-07-28 21-17-06Throughout August we will be meeting out and about so the normal club room will not be open. We are meeting in the car park at Barbury Castle. If you don’t know where it is and you have a GPS… 51.483822,-1.777436 or see this map

Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort situated in Wiltshire, England. It is one of several such forts found along the ancient Ridgeway route. The site, which lies within the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been managed as a country park by Swindon Borough Council since 1971. It is situated on Barbury Hill, a local vantage point, which, under ideal weather conditions, commands a view across to the Cotswolds and the River Severn. It has two deep defensive ditches and ramparts. The Old Ridgeway runs close by and the modern Ridgeway crosses through the castle. In the surrounding area are to be found round barrows, Celtic field systems and 18th-19th Century flint workings.

We will be returning to Pinetrees from September.

See you there.

Finally Secure By Default!

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Sorry for the delay with this.  We are now secure by default.  You will no longer be able to access the website unencrypted.  We now automatically upgrade your connection to a secure one.  You shouldn’t even notice anything…  unless your browser used to warn you.  If you find any issues, please make contact and we’ll fix as soon as we can.

The reason for the delay was I had to manually hunt down all of the mixed-mode content issues and fix them.

Simple Satellite Operating by Tim Kirby, G4VXE

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UPDATE: Tim kindly provided his slides from the talk. You can download them here.

This Thursday, 8th June, we welcome Tim Kirby, G4VXE to our club night at Pine Trees.

Have you ever thought about working through one of the many satellites which orbit our planet? There are a plethora of satellites which offer the radio amateur an opportunity to use their radios to join in with this fascinating part of our hobby. Some act as repeaters in the sky, allowing contacts far and wide on modes such as FM and SSB. Some carry digital data, SSTV and telemetry, while others may send experimental or other data which can be received by amateurs. There is also of course, the ISS, with its worldwide schools’ contacts and its voice repeater on 2m FM and you never know, there may be the chance to speak to one of the astronauts on board!

Anyone who has searched the web for a simple ‘This is what to do’ Internet site will doubtless have encountered lots of partial, out of date and misinformation on how to make successful contacts via the ‘birds’.

Tim, with his talk on Simple Satellite Operating, will show how it can be done with simple equipment which most amateurs already own.

Tim will also, weather and satellite passes permitting, attempt to work through a satellite or two during the evening.

So please join us from 7pm on Thursday 8th June at Pine Trees Community Centre to meet Tim and see his talk on satellite operating.

Thursday 1st June and the Magic Band was ‘Magic’ at Pine Trees!

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A quick E-mail from Phil, M0PBZ on Thursday 1st June re setting up a station for the club activity evening prompted Jonathan, M0ZGB, to suggest dusting off his seldom used Homebrew 6m antenna and giving the ‘Magic Band’ a try.

On arrival at the club, the antenna, a 6m HB9CV of DK7ZB design, was setup on the Pine Trees balcony and the club’s TS-590s connected to it via a length of low loss Heliax coax. The switch on and tune into the calling area of the SSB portion of the band revealed a number of strong signals emanating from central & eastern Europe.

Taking the Microphone first, Jonathan began to call one of the stations, OE3DIA in Austria. After a couple of attempts, Ivan answered our G8SRC call and we were given the locator of JN88HL and a 59 report. Aided by Dom, 2E0WHQ, another 7 stations were worked before Vivian, M0IEP took up the microphone whilst Jonathan went for a coffee.

Our resident CW fan, Phil – M0PBZ arrived shortly after but had been unable to find his paddle key at home. However, remembering there was a Junkers straight key in the cupboard, Phil quickly grabbed the key, connected up and hammered away to make three CW contacts with HA3HX, HG2DX and IV3SKB.
Back on SSB and a few CQ calls were put out, bringing in another two contacts before Vivian took to the microphone again to work IS0BSR/P in Sardinia.

An added bonus was Matthew, 2E0WLF flying his impressive drone from the balcony and providing some excellent footage of the amateur radio proceedings going on below on the 6m band.

By 20:15 UTC, the signals were beginning to fade and the band was closing down so the decision was made to switch off and pack away.

So, how did we do in the end?

Well, quite nicely thank you! We made 15 QSOs on SSB and 3 on CW, working into Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Sardinia. Several stations commented on us giving a very strong signal, which is always nice to hear.

A very enjoyable evening and great to get the club call on the air during one of our club evenings.

 

Mills on the Air 2017 – Wilton Windmill

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SK Sale 4 May – Update

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The Sale to Members of SK Items – scheduled as part of the regular Members Equipment Sale on Thursday coming, 4th May – has created quite a bit of pre-Sale interest!  This is particularly true of the “Major Items” listed on Pages 1 & 2 of the list you will have seen.

Our aim is to make the SK Sale as fair as possible to all Members and we have therefore refused to enter into pre-Sale reservations or to sell items ahead of the sale.

In addition, to enable members who live further away to get to Pinetrees without finding half the equipment already sold before they arrive, we are modifying the “First Come, First Served” mantra by delaying the sale of the “Major Items” on the SK List until 8pm.

During the past few days, we have also received emails that show that several Members are likely to be interested in some of the same “Major Items” !

We have spent some time considering how best to organise that situation in a way that is fair and have decided:

  1. Members first.    SK Items will be available to Members before being offered to Visitors.
  2. In the period to 8pm on Thursday evening, none of the “Major” SK items will be sold, but Members can register interest in items on that part of the List.
  3. At 8 pm we will review the list and immediately sell to those who registered their interest, all “Major Items” that are not the subject of interest from multiple Members.
  4. We will then discuss with those members about how to proceed.

Here’s hoping everyone has an enjoyable and profitable evening whether buying or selling.

Members’ Equipment Sale

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This week at Pine Trees, we will be holding a Members’ Equipment Sale.

With the lighter evenings of Spring & Summer now with us, perhaps now is the time to clear out that shed/shack of all those ‘come in useful’ bits and sell them to someone else!

Our sale is just the place to find that obscure part or perhaps a restoration project to work on.

Bargains are to be had, as sellers tend to keep their prices to a sensible level and there is always the option to haggle a bit!

You may wish to bring along items to sell or just browse the tables as a buyer – all are welcome to attend.

There also will be a club table which will be selling, at special prices to SDARC members, items from an SK estate.

Fees are as follows:

  • SDARC Member Seller’s Table – Free
  • Non Member Seller’s Table – £3
  • SDARC Member Entrance – Free
  • Non Member Entrance – £1
  • Refreshments – £1 (all)

Construction Competition 2017 Results

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Last Thursday we had a great attendance for the Construction Competition. We received 15 entries. There were so many entries that the judges G4LDL and M1DST were unable to produce the final scores within the evening. Tony and James took away the score sheets and worked on them over the following days.

The standard from all entrants was very good and they were particularly impressed with the entries which were specifically built to solve a problem and as such were in regular use.

Below is a list of entrants and their project and if the project won in their class. Congratulations to all who took part as every project required different skills to execute. We hope to see more great projects next year.

CallsignNameCategoryProjectResult
G3LLZDennisHomebrew/ProfessionalActive AntennaWinner!
M0RFIRussellNovice/Kit40M XTAL CW TXVRWinner!
M6XTBTimNovice/KitARDF Antenna
M6WHQDomNovice/KitPixie 40M
G0EPCPaulKitRSGB Morse GeneratorWinner!
G3LLZDennisKitRF Power Meter
2E0CYSPeterAntenna2M HaloWinner!
M0IEPVivAntenna2m Antenna (6ele)
M1CJEAndrewHomebrewRotator ControllerWinner!
M1CJEAndrewHomebrewIC7000 Voice Keyer
M1CJEAndrewHomebrewLow Current PSU
M0ZGBJonathanHomebrewPortable Manpack
G0EPCPaulHomebrew9:1 balun
M0IEPVivHybrid/SoftwareSignal Generator / Power Meter +++Winner!
G4HGZMikeHybridFrequency Meter

Here are a few photos provided by the constructors.

Talk: “The Future Is Out Of This World” – Dr. Stuart Eves – SSTL

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This week at Pine Trees, we welcomed Dr. Stuart Eves who is the Lead Mission Concepts Engineer at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.

After working with the Ministry of Defence for 16 years, Stuart joined SSTL in 2004. He has experience in communications and surveillance satellites and initiated the ‘TopSat’ satellite programme, the engineering model of which was displayed at the Science Museum in London until recently.

Stuart is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has an MSc in Astrophysics and a PhD in Constellation Design.

In his presentation entitled ‘The Future Is Out Of This world’, Stuart will give us his slant on how he sees satellite technology progressing over the next 20+ years.

With Satellite technology being of interest to many Radio Amateurs, this will give us a fascinating insight into an (out of this) world of technology that many do not fully understand and these days, take for granted.